A small model of the Wright Flyer is on Captain Mercer's desk. The ship is named after Orville Wright, one of the Wright brothers. On December 17, 1903, they successfully conducted the first free, controlled flight of a heavier than air, power-driven airplane.
When Orville's crew visit Lt. Cmdr. Bortus' home planet in About a Girl (season 1, episode 3) it can be seen an over-polluted city. It's based on Norilsk, an over-polluted Russian city (North to Arctic Polar Circle).
Seth MacFarlane previously said that he was interested in reviving Star Trek for television. Now the Orville(2017), a not so subtle Star Trek homage, is premiering the same year as Star Trek: Discovery(2017), a Star Trek television revival.
Admiral Halsey (Victor Garber) is also the name of an American fleet admiral in the United States Navy. At the start of the American involvement World War 2 in the Pacific In 1943 he was made commander of the Third Fleet, the post he held through the rest of the war. Halsey's flagship early in the war was the U.S.S. Enterprise, which became the inspiration for the starship in "Star Trek".
When Star Trek was first introduced to television in 1966, it was set roughly in the year 2266, adding 300 years to the show's debut. When the first episode of The Orville opens a caption reads the year as being 2418, roughly 400 years added to the season's debut.
The opening title sequence resembles that of "Star Trek: Voyager", with the Orville passing through similar planetary objects, including a dust cloud and a comet, before entering FTL in the final shot.